I Quilt Confidently


Hurrah for Thursdays and hurrah for quilting!  I hope you join me and link up to I Quilt this week :)  This week I’m talking confidence.

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Without fail my projects follow a pattern.  First I start with grand ideas, an amazing stash pull and full of confidence.

Stash pull

Stash pull

I over-gram, sharing my process in my supreme confidence.

Bee blocks and strips from Marieka, Fiona, Jane, Midge, Lara, Kristy, Janice, Elisabeth, Adrienne, Jess and Alyce <3

Bee blocks and strips from Marieka, Fiona, Jane, Midge, Lara, Kristy, Gina, Janice, Elisabeth, Adrianne, Jess and Alyce <3

Once I get a bit beyond the half-way mark, the doubt creeps in.  Quietly at first, then in droves.

mid section in progress

I’ve committed beyond the point of giving up and yet all I see ahead is a finished quilt that falls far short of my original idea.  I’m used to this process.  In spite of my fear of failure, I believe that it will work out OK, I keep going.

LHS finished

Usually when I finish a quilt (and I usually work just on one project at a time) I am so emotionally spent and exhausted that I step away for a few days (at the very least, overnight if a deadline is looming) before deciding how to quilt it.

I’m constantly thinking of my finished quilt top and usually take a couple of photos on my phone so that I can look at it throughout the day.  I generally have a rough idea of how to quilt it but nothing definite.  The only time I sketch quilting is for clients and then I have to apologise for my hideous sketches and reassure them that my quilting is far better than my drawing!

I’ve never made a quilt that I don’t like.  In fact I think the least in love I’ve been with a quilt was even enough to say that I really, really like it, it just isn’t quite my style.  Usually I think my work is pretty awesome once I’ve finished.  The excitement of a freshly laundered quilt is always special.

Colour Therapy on the line

Colour Therapy on the line

The past week I have been working my butt off finishing a top for entry into the Canberra Quilters Members’ Exhibition.  My moment of doubt was so extreme that I’ve started to doubt that it will even be accepted to be shown.  Is it too busy?  Too bright?  Too modern?

I will be submitting a photo of it before it’s quilted and I KNOW that the quilting will bring it together and change it further.  I hope the judges can see that too.  I don’t know how I’ll quilt it, but I’m excited to get it on the frame.  I want to quilt a couple of stars in the greys and quilt it quite densely.  Beyond that I have no idea.  But I’ve invested too much to give up and I’ve mostly passed the period of self doubt.  Once the quilt is on the frame all that doubt disappears, I’m more focused than I am at any other time and usually it all comes together.  I’m already completely in love with this quilt, I just never know if others can see what I can see.

RHS finished

I was watching a documentary this week about amazing Australian artist John Olsen and he said something along the lines of, “when I’m creating it starts completely instinctively followed by careful planning and attention to detail.”  He described my creative process to a T and I immediately wanted to rush out and get it tattooed on my arm.  For me, to quilt confidently is to start with my instinct, then focus on the detail and then move on in the knowledge that the end product will be awesome.

Now let’s hope I haven’t jinxed myself! 😉

How does your creative process work?  Are you a confident quilter?  Do you have any tips to quilting confidently?

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Please remember to share the love and visit three other linkers xxx




14 Comments on I Quilt Confidently

  1. Christine Feldstein
    June 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Such awsome quilts, I love them! Thanks for the party!

  2. Dasha
    June 19, 2014 at 11:12 pm (2 years ago)

    You are so lucky to always love the quilts you make. I have made quite a few where at the end of the process I look at them at think “blah”. The last one I made like that was for my cousin’s daughter. I had the great vision, and all the fabrics came together, made the blocks, added the sashing, and thought YUK!! I finished that quilt & gave it away, deeply thankful that I would never have to look at it again. And having said that, all the girls in my sewing group loved it and thought me utterly batty. But there you go, each person’s taste is different.

  3. Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation
    June 19, 2014 at 11:19 pm (2 years ago)

    Your quilts are gorgeous Gemma! I usually just plow through my doubts as well, and when it’s all finished, I always love it. Of course, there are quilts that I love more than others, but I always seem to like it in the end. Thanks for hosting!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  4. Jen
    June 19, 2014 at 11:21 pm (2 years ago)

    It’s stunning Gemma. It looks like a true work of art and I can’t wait to see how you quilt it. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

  5. France
    June 19, 2014 at 11:21 pm (2 years ago)

    What an interesting post! That’s the kind that gives food for thoughts. To think about during the day.
    Most of my quilts follow the same process. I start with an small idea, which translate into a block. I start working on it as soon as possible even thought I don’t know yet what I will do exactly with it. While my hands are busy doing the cutting, assembling and stitching of this small piece, my mind is inspired by what is taking form and before long I have thousands of possibilities of what I can do next.
    Sometimes, I doubt too. Or I’m not sure what choice I should make from all the possibilities. I take a break–a few hours, a few days. Then the doubts evaporate and I know exactly what I will do. I like the saying “Sleeping on it”. Taking a step back can be beneficial, I find.
    The quilting is what brings me the biggest hesitation–that often requires a pause that last a few months.
    Thank you for sharing with us your creation process. And for asking us to share. I love to read about how you fellow bloggers work. And as I always say, the process of creating is far more important than the result…

  6. Michelle
    June 19, 2014 at 11:35 pm (2 years ago)

    This quilt is going to be AMAZING!

  7. Maryse
    June 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Your quilt in progress looks amazing! Very creative and all the colors…Looks like you are heading in the right direction.
    I am very confident when it comes to the different steps of making a quilt except the creative part (working on this one) and the quilting part…I do mostly big quilts so I usually send them off for the quilting part. I feel very intimidated with FMQ a big quilt on my machine, managing the bulk, I think it would drive me crazy…However, lately I have been giving it some thoughts and might give it a try.

  8. ChristaQuilts
    June 20, 2014 at 12:44 am (2 years ago)

    I totally understand about self doubt!! You make amazing quilts so your process works for you though :-) To keep mine at bay, I usually have to plan everything out ahead of time before I even take the first stitch!

  9. Ruthann
    June 20, 2014 at 1:16 am (2 years ago)

    What a great post! How well you described what I think a lot of us experience….great enthusiasm for our quilt and then the niggling doubts start creeping in during the long process to completion. What I find most challenging is to cling to that attention to detail while the doubts swirl around. Detail takes so much energy and doubts suck energy right out. That eternal push pull. Your quilt is beautiful and I look forward to seeing it completed. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Jane
    June 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm (2 years ago)

    Go on, get that tattooed on your arm!!
    Fwiw, I got about five words around my wrist, lol.

  11. Jules
    June 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm (2 years ago)

    OH YES!!! This is just my process! Confident beginning, doubting the process and the result and then loving the end. Although, unlike you, I have definitely made things I don’t like in the end – quite a few actually :)

  12. Ms Midge
    June 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m almost the opposite to you! I am an incredibly confident quilt constructor! I think that’s why I can generally get a quilt top put together pretty quickly. I know what I want to do, what I want to see, and how I want it to look. But then the quilting part happens. And I lose all confidence. The last few quilts, I have started quilting, but have unpicked at least three times before settling on a boring straight line…… But my medallion I was happy with – I didn’t unpick once! I just ended up thinking – this quilt is for me. I have to like it – not anybody else! So I just went for my life, not worrying about the imperfection :) xxx

  13. Teje
    June 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! Your NEW quilt is going to be fantastic! Don’t worry, I’m sure most of us has our doubts during the process. I never made exact plans in the beginning because they would anyway change a lot – and that’s the fun part! Your quilt is totally not too bright and I really love that you have made so many different kind of blocks and areas. It will be so enjoyable to watch! x Teje

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